Distribution of the Phasmatodea

Zoologistst, studying the distribution of animals (subject zoogeograpgy or biogeography) divide the world into six well defined zoogeographical regions or faunal realms, in each of which at least 50 % of the known mammals are endemic (see BRIGGS, 1987, COX & MOORE, 1993). These are the Palaearctic, Nearctic, Australian (= Notogaea), Afrotropical, Oriental and Neotropical regions (► map 1). As the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions exhibit very similar and closely allied faunas they are often combined as the Holoarctic region. This is a similar case with the Afrotropical and Oriental regions which are often combined as the Palaeotropis. Major zones of transition whose faunas can not definitely be assigned to a certain zoogeographical region are markerd by hatching in the map below (► map 1). These are the Sahara and the Wallacea. The latter contains the Lesser Sunda Islands (Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Wetar & Timor), the Philippines, Sulawesi (= Celebes), the Moluccas, Ambon, Ceram as well as the Key Island. Wether the Philippines should be included in the Wallacea is still subject of discussion (see VANE-WRIGHT, 1990, HUXLEY, 1868). The western boundary of the Wallacea is represented by the “Wallace Line”, but the eastern boundary is still not a confirmed but generally accepted to be Weber’s Line (see SIMPSON, 1997).

Madagascar, the Seychelles, Comoros and the Mascarean Islands form a quite well separated subregion of the Afrotropical region which lacks most of the typical African faunal elements. This distinct island faund is sometimes even defined as a valid zoogeograhical subregion, the Malagasyan or Madagascan region, but here referred to as a subregion. Its fauna shows distinctly more close relations to that of the Oriental and Australian regions rather than to the African continent. Other well defined subregions with rather distinctiver faunas are the Caribbian subregion (part of Neotropical region), as well as New Zealand or the Papuan and Polynesian subregions of the Australian region (► map 1).  

The division of the earth into zoogeograhical regions was originally established by the English zoologist Alfred Russel WALLACE (1823-1913) who was the first to define these in 1876, based on the mammal fauna. Although WALLACE’s concept has seen numerous additions and sub-divisions into subregions or zoogeographical provinces during the past 140 years, his division has principally remained valid until now. 



Map 1: Zoogeographic regions of the world (transition-zones hatched)



The distribution pattern of the Phasmatodea contains most of the warmer zones of all zoogeographical regions, but especially the tropical and subtropical areas. The Oriental and Neotropical regions do by far exhibit the most rich and diverse phasmid faunas, followed by the Australian region, Madagascar, the Ethiopian, Nearctic and finally the Palearctic region (► map 2 below).




Weltkarte mit Verbreitung der Phasmatodea
Map 2: Distribution of the Phasmatodea